How to Make a Business Plan for 18 Months
A traditional business plan predicts a company's progress over a three- to five-year period and describes what the management team will do to take the business forward. In some cases, however, a company undertakes a particular project, such as bringing a new product to market, that it wants to complete in a certain period of time. To help manage such a project, a company should write an internal business plan -- separate from its main plan -- dedicated to the project.
When a company is developing a new product that is scheduled for launching in 18 months, it should write an internal business plan to use as a managing tool for the project from inception through to the product launch, when it is first offered to consumers for sale. The new product plan should focus on three phases of operation: completion of research and development, manufacturing a number of units of the product and the commencement of marketing. The plan, being internal, has no need for several sections that traditional business plans contain, such as company description, management biographies and general financial statements and projections.
The management team should decide on a timeline for completion of each phase of the project. Dedicate a section of the new product business plan to the timeline, implementation of milestones -- significant events that are used to mark the progress of a project -- and responsibilities of managers for accomplishment of certain tasks on time. The timeline section should give the start and end dates of each milestone.
The product description section contains technical information such as design specifications, test results and data from the research and development phase. Management should collect product description information from the new product plan to gain knowledge about the details of the product and make contributions to the product's final review before it enters the manufacturing phase.
The financial section contains the budget for the completion of the research and development phase, manufacturing and marketing. If the company is manufacturing the product itself, include projections of the costs and expenses involved. If it is contracting the manufacturing to another party, the plan should contain the cost and expense data. The marketing budget covers all advertising and other selling expenses.
The marketing section highlights the company's marketing plan for the new product. The section contains the marketing action program, sales forecast and information about the company's strategy for marketing the product. Other information in this section might include pricing, the program for advertising and promotion and how the product compares with competing products.